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Adult Field Course: Grandfather’s Animals in Art – Wildlife Drawing

June 10, 2023 @ 9:30 am - 4:00 pm

Grandfather Mountain is a great source of inspiration for the wildlife artist. The long-range views, unique flora and abundance of animal life on the mountain helps lay out a canvas or paper like no other place. In this Adult Field Course, we’ll be working in close proximity to Grandfather’s wildlife in the Animal Habitats, using them as live models as we learn to accurately draw their anatomy, posture and gestures.

This course will be done in and around Grandfather Mountain’s Conservation Campus and focus primarily on drawing only – please, no painting or messy media as we need to respect their facilities. Your instructor, Ryan Kirby, will be working right along with you, doing demonstrations and offering advice as the course progresses. At the end the group will gather for a critique of our work (this is optional and only for those that would like critique) and a brief Q&A.

Ryan Kirby grew up on a farm in the Midwest, surrounded by livestock and wildlife from an early age. From day one he was fascinated with wild animals, and this passion for the outdoors has fueled his entire career. After several years as a graphic artist for a conservation group, Ryan launched out on his own and has been a full-time wildlife artist for over a decade. From his studio near Todd, NC, Ryan produces original oil paintings and drawings of deer, turkey, elk, sporting dogs and much more. Grandfather Mountain is a treasure of the Appalachian Mountains, and not only do he appreciate the opportunity to work with the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, but also to bring his kids and family here to show them the wonders of our natural world.

Program Itinerary
9:30 a.m.: Meet at the Grandfather Mountain Wilson Center for Nature Discovery for an Introduction and Course Overview
10:30 a.m.: Photograph and Sketch Live Animals -Elk, Cougar and Bear
12:00 p.m.: Break for Lunch at Visitors Center
1:00 p.m.: Wildlife Drawing Session – Elk, Cougar and Bear
3:00 p.m.: Reconvene in the Wilson Center for a Critique and Q&A

This Adult Field Course costs $60 for general admission and $51 for members of Grandfather Mountain’s Bridge Club, plus tax. Attendance is limited to 15 participants. Registration opens below on April 20 at 9 a.m.

Your program cost includes admission into the park, field instruction, and transportation during your program (you may drive your own vehicle to visit sites on the mountain if you would prefer). It does not include meals or lodging. Bringing a bagged lunch is recommended for most field courses, although Mildred’s Grill will be open to attendees. Tips are not accepted for field courses. However, donations to the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation are accepted if you would like to recognize a program.

General Clothing List
Much of your time will be spent outdoors and all programs are held rain, snow or shine. You should be prepared for a variety of mountain weather conditions and temperatures. Appropriate clothing, equipment, and footwear are very important.


  • Daypack with enough room to carry extra clothing, water, lunch, camera, etc.
  • Water Bottle
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Hiking boots
  • Binoculars

Equipment Specific to this Course

  • Sketch Pad – work as large or small as you like, but keep in mind that we will be moving around a bit. I’ll be working on an 11”x14” Strathmore Drawing Pad. I would recommend that you work in a small enough size that you can support in your lap without the aid of an easel, and no loose sheets. Sketch Pads or Sketch Books work best, as they’re sturdy and provide support as you work.
  • Graphite or Colored Pencils – please no messy media and no paint
  • Erasers
  • Spray Fixative – optional. This will help your finished work from smearing in transit home

Adult Field Courses generally sell out and have a waiting list associated with the event. If you cannot attend the field course that you are registered for, a full refund will be granted within a 5-day notice of the day of the field course. This allows time for individuals on the waiting list to make accommodations to attend the event. We ask that individuals who are sick with any illness to stay home to ensure the health and safety of other participants, our staff, and the field course instructors – refunds will be granted to these individuals.

More about Field Courses
We at Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation are excited to share the unique wonders of the mountain with you. Since 2008, GMSF has aimed at creating educational programming that deepens understanding through in-depth study and field research. Our goal is to provide you with a rich experience in a particular field of study, and to also provide a safe and memorable trip to Grandfather Mountain. Read more about Field Courses.

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June 10, 2023
9:30 am - 4:00 pm
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Grandfather Mountain
2050 Blowing Rock Highway
Linville, NC 28646 United States
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